South Africa made slow progress as they replied to Zimbabwe’s 256 on the second day of the one-off Test in Harare.
The Proteas, who regained top spot in the ICC Test rankings last month, scored at less than 2.5 runs per over as they reached 201-4 at stumps.
Opener Dean Elgar and team-mate Faf du Plessis made patient half-centuries at the Harare Sports Club. Du Plessis was 69 not out at the close, having shared an unbeaten 44-run partnership with Quinton de Kock (27).
|South Africa 1st Innings: 201 for 4 (83.1 overs)|
|Elgar||c Mutumbami||b Tiripano||61||182||146|
|Petersen||c Mutumbami||b Nyumbu||32||87||58|
|Du Plessis||not out||69||240||187|
|Amla||c Sibanda||b Chatara||4||34||27|
|De Villiers||c Sibanda||b Nyumbu||7||49||34|
|De Kock||not out||27||61||48|
|Extras||1nb 0w 0b 0lb||1|
The hosts, ranked ninth of the 10 Test-playing nations, fought bravely to peg back SA, who were 146-2 at tea.
Alviro Petersen (32) was the first man to fall before lunch, caught by wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami off debutant spinner John Nyumbu. Elgar fell late in the afternoon session, having made 61 from 146 balls, with Mutumbami taking a superb one-handed catch to his left off the bowling of another debutant, Donald Tiripano.
The inexperienced hosts removed South Africa captain Hashim Amla in the second over after the adjournment, as he drove Tendai Chatara straight to cover after making four.
Only 11 runs were scored in the next 11 overs, and the pressure told on AB de Villiers as he picked out mid-wicket in an attempt to hit Nyumbu over the top.
Earlier, Dale Steyn picked up the final home wicket to complete his 24th five-wicket haul in Test matches.